Bacon Peerless Banjo Repair

This instrument was manufactured at the Bacon Banjo Company’s Groton Connecticut factory around 1925, and had a non-reinforced laminated maple neck, with a simple, non laminated dowel stick to attach it to the Banjo’s “pot”, or laminated wooden rim. Many of the early non-reinforced Bacon necks were susceptible to twisting, warping and bowing under string tension, and this one was plagued with a variety of issues; one of the worst I had ever encountered. The neck was badly twisted, and the died hardwood fretboard was badly worn, split in many places, with deep ruts, and about 1/16” thick. The action in the center of the neck was more than 1/8”, and well over 1/4” at the neck body Joint. A special jig had to be designed and fabricated to heat straighten the neck, which required several days of applied tension and heat application, and a second jig was constructed to secure the neck in order to plane out a severe twist, and hold the neck in a stable manner during the gluing of the fret board and the installation of inlays and frets. A new 22” scale, 17 fret Ebony fret board was made at .200” thickness in order to compensate for wood removed during the planing process, and to also restore the neck to its original size and specifications. The dowel stick was found to be badly bowed, and was carefully removed from the neck for straightening. After the new fret board was applied, and the dowel stick repaired and re-glued to the neck, a series of intricate modifications and adjustments were performed in order achieve a proper neck to body angle, and good playing action. After almost three months of painstaking restorative work, the Banjo was returned to it’s owner, who can now once again play the instrument with his Shriners String Band

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